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bigshooter320

Cloudy Ottertail

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bigshooter320

My grandpa and uncles have a spear house and an angling house about 1/2 mile to the left of the east access, the water has been extremely cloudy and we have to have the decoy high in the water. At 8 ft, you can't even make out perch on the bottom. If anyone knows what causes this, let me know if there is anything you can do to help it clear up. It really makes a day of spearing feel worthless. On a better note, we've pulled out three 10 lbs. notherns and a 12 pounder all in one week. Also, where are the eyes biting on OT? That would be helpful for my trip up there this weekend. Thanks!!
Derrick

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Gissert

Ottertail has been cloudier than ususal this year. Nothing you can do, but move you house elsewhere and hope for a clearer area.

42 pounds worth of northerns in 4 fish. I hope you're hungry.....

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jt24

Ya see now thats alittle much dont ya think?? I would love to be able to catch one that size and be able to release it. I suppose with the new regs coming into affect everyone is spearing all they can. Just really bothers me when people take that many big fish in one week. My god one would be enough and one that size must taste like s#%# unless smoked or pickled. For everyones sake let a few swim!!

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Guest

If you think they taste so bad why do you care if bigshooter spears them. Sounds to me like you are jealous.

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jt24

Give me a break! Jealous?? Not one bit! Just dont see the need for anyone to spear that many big fish! Especially when theres been guys who spear like that and then sell them! I wouldnt keep a fish like that even if i did catch it. Let it live for someone else to enjoy!

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SXViper

I dont remember reading that they kept all 4 fish. Maybe they caught them and released them, instead of spearing them. I hope you guys dont jump on early ice like you jump to conclusions.

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Guest

Who cares about a northern anyway? They eat the walleye fry, slime everything in your boat or fishhouse and taste like your eating a piece of slime when you eat one. What good are they for? As far as I'm concearned I hope you spear every northern out of that lake bigshooter. Go for it!!

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jcbh

I subscribe to the theory that big northerns are a vital part of a healthy fishery. On most lakes where there are good numbers of large fish (muskie and northern) that are at the top of a food chain, there is also a better average size from everything from sunfish to walleye. Overpopulation of any fish is a bad thing, think of Dead Lake northerns. On the other side, West Battle is a prime example, everyone thought the muskies would eat all the walleyes, when 2 summers ago, the average tournament fish out there was the top average in any tourney west of Mille Lacs. I am not against spearing, but be selective, a 4-5 pound northern tastes great, and a 10-15 is not big enough for the wall, and not as good on the table. With the new regs, and more fish at the top of the food chain, I am very excited about the future of Ottertail Lake.

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Guest

Hey am with jcbh he was right on!!! 4 to 5 lb northerns do taste Great!!

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fishermatt

I agree that northerns are an important fish for the balance of a lake. Cleaned carefully, they are boneless and have a delicious flavor (baked northern almondine, YUM) . I think the 10+ pound fish would be unsafe to have many meals of because of high mercury levels. For a Spear fisherman, I believe the idea of "passing up" a big fish does not exist. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would seriously doubt that it happens if the fish presents a good opportunity to be speared. I think northerns are a blast to catch on rod and reel, or Tip up! My father-in-law got a 38 incher on OT last year, and just about peed his pants he had so much fun!! I'd love to see more big northerns in OT.

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bigshooter320

These fish were taken over a period of about 3 weeks. If you don't think big notherns taste good, try this: filet them just as you usually would, but keep the skin and y-bone in the fish. There is a meat market in Perham that smokes them for about $2.00 a fish. It is the best tasting northern I have ever had. Don't make fun of it until you try it. Plus, $2.00 isn't that bad for smoked fish. Try it and tell me what you think!!

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Guest

I have lived on West Battle since 1972. Walleye fishing on Battle use to be super, but ever since they introduced the Muskie it has gone down hill. There was no problem going out on Battle and catching five to ten fish a day, not keeping them all but at least you could to out and catch a walleye any time of the day. Kind of like Ottertail. Now your lucky if you catch one walleye per week. You can talk to any lake shore owner and they will agree that the walleye fishing has gone down hill, I do agree that there are big walleyes in the lake. But I have a hard time believing that the muskies and big northerns don't eat any of the small walleyes? I have always wanted some explanation to the reasons behind this. Plus the netting that the DNR does clearly shows the decline in little walleyes.
The year they had the great tourney out there I fished it. I was there and the whole lake was turned on. I placed and did very well but I believe it was just one of those cases that the fish were just feeding. We have not had a year like that for many years.

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Guest

See most of these big lakes that people are naming (MIlle Lacs, Leech) and so on are a whole different story. The thing about those lakes they have a great reproduction and natural spawning areas fro walleyes that there is no way these fish could affect them. Even Ottertail Lake would be able to handle Muskies if they were introduced to the lake. Not only does Ottertail and these other lakes have great areas for walleyes but they are also heavily stocked. Battle does not have any great spawning areas, this is not helping. They have started to stock it more but with the little areas that they have to go to spawn and against the big predators they don't have a chance. So the conclusion that almost every lake owner has came to is that the muskies have depleated the walleye numbers. The numbers are there to prove when they were introduced and when the decline in walleyes in the nets became evident. There was about a 5 year period that it did not seem to matter but every year it becomes more and more difficult to catch fish on Battle during the day. I would even go out on a limb and pay somebody gas and there expenses for the day and even buy them supper if they take me out and we catch 10 walleyes between 10-2 in the afternoon. Which we could anytime years ago.. Anybody up for the challenge!

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Havin' Fun

lundprov,
Just to be the othersides advocate, but by the statement, "we use to be able to do that years ago" probably has part of your answer right there. Too much fishing pressure!!! I don't know all the answers but many lakes with muskies are lacking walleyes....and use to have em. The anwer seems obvious, it's the muskies fault. Yet I don't think we should jump to conclusions too fast. Battle has a lot of structure, both shallow and deep. A lot like Miltona and Big Detroit. Area lakes with similar questions. I've never fished Battle but fished the heck out of the other 2 and have had excellent luck on the walleyes some days, and terrible luck on others. I truly believe that the walleyes are there, but the muskies have pushed the walleyes out of their "normal" enviroment and pushed em deep or shallow, or a combination of the two. I would bet either spot will hold Battle walleyes during the day...shallow in the weeds especially in the summer.
Good luck

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Scoot

I was thinking along the same lines as Hammer, but I didn't want to speak up because I've been doing that a lot lately. Not trying to make any enemies here!

There are a heck of a lot of lakes that don't have as good a fishing in 'em as they did five, eight, or 14 years ago. Some have had muskies introduced, most have not. However, the reduction in productivity can't be pinned solely on the shoulders of muskies, regardless of what lake you're talking about. Also, there's a lot of lakes that have had muskies introduced to them that have had walleye numbers stay the same or improve. Muskies are one piece in the puzzle.

Finally, and most importantly, as with Ottertail Lake, consider the number of people that are there in the summer. The number of people that come from the cities on any given weekend or week has increased ten-fold in the past decade or two. Many of these people fish and many of them love to keep limits of fish. Again, I'm not trying to start a fight with anyone or any group of people- this is one piece of the puzzle and not the sole problem. I do think, however, that this is one huge piece of the puzzle- a lot bigger than the muskies.
My .02
Scoot

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Guest

Scoot your very right about the fishing pressure and so on. But on a given day in the summer weekend or week day West Battle maybe has ten boats on the lake fishing. The only time that this lake sees most of the pressure is during the tournament or pre-fishing for the tourney. Now Ottertail on the other hand, if its a nice day and weekend or week day there will always be 20-30 boats out there fishing nice day. Even on the crappy days there are at least ten boats out there, mostly keeping limits. During these posts of mine I realize that I'm bias toward the Muskies being introduced to the lake, but don't get me wrong I would love to go after them and fish for one. My brother is a big time muskie fisherman and he says there is no comparison to catching one of them or catching a big walleye. But I have no time because I'm always on the road fishing a walleye tournament. Though it just seems so irronic (sp) that after the muskies were introduced the walleye bite disappeared....???

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Guest

We got our limit at ottertail on Sunday. am and afternoon just before sundown were pretty good. best its been in 2 weeks. Using a plain hook and a med.shiner. Got some nice perch as well. Biggest eye was 21 inch, most were the 14-16 range. we also missed a lot.
looks like the bite is on !!!!

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rwestb

I find it hard to believe that the muskie has done that much damage to the walleye population in West Battle Lake. Look at the top five walleye lakes in Minnesota (Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods, Leech, Vermillion, and Winnibigoshis) they are full of muskies. Why hasnt the walleye population declined on these lakes? Mille Lacs walleye are heavily regulated so you can only keep slot fish. The fishing out there last summer was absolutly fantastic. On the other hand i talked to a guy at the W. Battle access last summer after a day of fishing and he had the same complaint about the muskie. He also said that he had lived on the lake for many years and how "back in the day" he could go out in the morning and evening and catch his limit. I think that this type of fishing does far more damage than the muskie. Just my opinion.

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Guest

Some guys I know just caught a 51" ski through the ice a week ago near my house. They supposedly catch lots of muskie in the winter.

I still support muskies in waters, and everything can balance out well. I've fished so many muskie infested lakes, and the walleye fishing was A-1.

I struggled for walleyes this winter on W. Battle. I finally found fish and learned their patterns. In one week I caught around 20-25 pounds of walleye (7 fish), almost all released. I haven't fished there for a week, so I don't know if that is still hot or not. They are there, you need to find them.
The pike are thicker than thick. The perch are thicker than thick. I found one spot where the 8" walleyes were thicker than thick.
I don't hold conclusions anymore....

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bigshooter320

We got our limit Saturday night on Ottertail. I have a cabin on that lake and fish it quite often and have never caught a muskie, or even seen a muskie in the spear house. I know they are in there, but during the summer, I catch plenty of eye's where you would expect to find them. I like to use lindy rigs and troll over breaks, and they produce fish. No problem with the walleyes here.
Bigshooter320

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Guest

Bigshooter-
You'll hardly have problems catching walleye on Otter Tail. There are no muskies in Ottertail, really. Can't rule out that there isn't 1 in there, but it is not managed or a designated muskie lake.

If you talk about W. Battle, last I checked I thought W. Battle was closed to spearing?


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carpshooterdeluxe

i just wanted to lend my thoughts on the arguement of the muskies on west battle affecting the walleye fishing...my grandparents used to own a cabin near south point and for fifteen years i was out every weekend it seemed chasing walleyes with my dad. and over the course of the years the walleyes became more and more illusive, while at the same time, there were more and more ominous dark shadows following lures and spinners back to the boat. when i was 8 years old my cousin of same age caught and kept a 46 inch muskie off our dock in the early fall. my grandpa took lots of pictures and then decided to fillet it out and feed the whole family, and upon inspection of the stomach i remember him saying that the belly of the muskie was full of walleye minnows. take that for what its worth but its my opinion that its not just the muskies feeding so heavily on the walleyes, if anything its the small northerns that seem to be everywhere in the lake. its too bad the muskie fishing is so good that spearing is not allowed, because i would be the first one out on battle to free up some room for walleyes by removing a few of the hammer handles.

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rwestb

Carp,
For one thing a 46 inch muskie wouldn't have walleye fingerlings in it. If you want to see a fish that is hard on small walleyes open up a bass stomach. (lundprov) I don't think it is possible to catch ten walleyes on any lake in the area that are of a resonable size between 10 and 2. I will buy you supper if you can take me to a lake and do that.

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Guest

Carp,
Amen! I knew that it was true. I just needed somebody to back me up. It's true a person would be a fool not to believe it..
Rwestb,
A forty inch muskie could eat almost anything in that lake! The story a few years ago that a Mille Lacs lake fisherman found a 47 inch muskie floating on top of the water with a five pound walleye stuck in it's throat. True story...
Plus there a few lakes that a person can go do the challenge. In fact I caught 32 walleyes that were in the 20-28 inch range on MIlle Lacs last summer in the times zones of only 10:30-1:00. So when the bite is on make sure that your ready to buy supper!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • huntnfish
      I made it out last Sunday and did some searching for walleye. The search didn't produce any walleyes, just northerns and smallies. The water temp on the main lake was 58-59 with the bays being about 5 degrees warmer. The people I have talked to have had similar issues finding the eyes. We missed some fish that left the shiner all chewed up. Most of the fish marked were out in that 18-21 foot range which seemed pretty deep for this early. It could have been Saturday's cold front that pushed them a little deeper though. 
    • Hoey
      SRJ - Thanks for the report.  I heard the bite was very-good to excellent, off the rocks/reefs, in the mud/sand.  I will be at the lake fishing this weekend.  
    • srj
      What a couple perfect days for LOW on Monday-Tuesday. Fish seemed to be biting well from shallow to deep and from the south side to up north.  Caught fish from 7 - 28 feet in good numbers and sized from small to large. There seemed to be a lot more fish on sand and mud than rocks. Quite a few males caught near rocks were full of milt. Biggest an 28 1/4. Most on jig and minnow but some on crankbaits. Sure a big pack of charters hanging around the Knight Island shoal. Warm, calm and no bugs!! Hope Memorial weekend winds stay light. My new to me Ipilot Link Bluetooth remote somehow changed to German, Dutch or some other language on the display. Anybody ever have that happen? Good luck this weekend.
    • Mitch K
      Nah it was maybe 6-7 inch, maybe it'll be a keeper next year.
    • Stephen L Johnston Jr.
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    • jigging-matt
      Nice pics.  Can't wait to get out this weekend and give it a try.
    • Nix769
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      Sunshine, pleasant temps, no wind, no bugs a perfect week to be out on LOTW. Oh yes, fish are going crazy....This weeks NCOR Vid shares what is working..Enjoy!  
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      Thanks Guys  
    • paceman
      Last night my son and out went out for quick panfish trip to a local lake after dinner. Did not have any live bait but we usually do well tossing small jigs/plastics. Surprisingly we were the only boat at the landing and the only boat out fishing on this heavily developed lake. It did not take us long to find the huge sunnies. They were really stacked in 4-6'. The lake was pretty calm and we could hundreds of them swimming under the boat. We didn't stay there long but they were very aggressive. I had one that touched 10" and a few others over 9. We did not keep any. Looking for active crappies we went to spot number 2. Again going super shallow we could see quite a few in 2-3' around there beds. They of course were pretty spooky and did not like the boat being so close. We backed out and tossed into and around lilly pads. We ended up catching about a dozen. All released. I wish I wouldn't have left my phone in the truck as I would have loved to get a picture. Just amazing how black they are right now! Again didn't stay very long. Just a quick trip to scratch the itch..